79 - 90 Final
  for this game

Purdue runs past Baylor

Mar 20, 2008 - 11:09 PM
WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Keaton Grant scored 17 points as Purdue shook off a disappointing loss to defeat Baylor, 90-79, Thursday in the first round of the West Regional.

The sixth-seeded Boilermakers were coming off a 74-67 overtime defeat to Illinois in the Big Ten Conference tournament. But they responded Thursday with their highest scoring output of the season.

"We realized they were very poor in transition," said Grant, who made three of Purdue's nine 3-pointers.

Purdue (25-8), which does not have a senior in its starting lineup, won a first-round game for the second time in as many seasons under third-year coach Matt Painter. It will face third seed Xavier in the second round Saturday.

"It was a great team effort for us," Painter said. "A lot of guys contributed. I thought our guys were ready to play. Our bench played good."

Despite the loss, No. 11 Baylor (21-11) enjoyed a successful season, making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988. The Bears are just five years removed from a scandal that rocked the program, as Patrick Dennehy was murdered by a former teammate.

"It wasn't the performance we wanted," said Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team posted just the fourth 20-win season in school history. "But at the same time, I think this team accomplished a lot this year. I think this is just the beginning of a successful program."

After playing in the physical and defensive-minded Big Ten, the Boilermakers' offense set the tone Thursday. Purdue put away the contest early, shooting 50 percent (20-of-40) in the first half, including 6-of-14 from 3-point range.

"If somebody wants to run up and down the court, we'll run up and down the court with them," Painter said. "If they want to slow it down and play halfcourt, we'll do that, too."

The Boilermakers built a 46-27 lead at the intermission, and the Bears never seriously challenged in the second half. Purdue's previous high for points this season came in an 84-53 win over Loyola of Chicago on November 24.

"We've been able to play different styles," Painter added. "When we go on the road, for whatever reason, we've been able to score more points."

Freshman E'Twaun Moore added 16 points for the Boilermakers, who had five players in double figures. Tarrance Crump chipped in with 11 points and Chris Kramer and JaJuan Johnson added 10 apiece.

"This just shows our team is very versatile," Kramer said. "We can play a variety of styles."

"We just took what was given to us," Johnson added. "Our shot selection was pretty good, for the most part."

Curtis Jerrells scored 27 points for Baylor, which outscored Purdue, 52-44, in the second half of a fast-paced game. But the Bears could not slow down the Boilermakers, who came into the contest averaging under 69 points per game.

"It was very physical," Jerrells said. "We did a poor job as a team of matching their intensity. We started getting agressive in the second half. If we had done that earlier, it might have been a different outcome."

Purdue also hurt Baylor on the boards with a 23-10 edge in second-chance points.

"We're still trying to deal with what just hit us," Baylor guard Aaron Bruce said.

Purdue took the lead for good at 13-11 on Scott Martin's 3-pointer with 4:42 left in the first half. Crump's jumper capped an 11-2 run that made it 34-20 with 7:20 remaining.

In the second half, Baylor got no closer than 69-56 on a pair of free throws by LaceDarius Dunn, who scored 15 points, with 7:03 to go.

"It's important to remain consistent and keep going, but our guys want to make improvements," Johnson said.

Last year, Purdue suffered a 74-67 loss in the second round to eventual national champion Florida. It was the Gators' closest game en route to their second straight title.